Forest pattern, fragmentation and connectivity

Metadata, European-wide map layers and indicator based data can be viewed and queried for state (year 2006) and change in the period 1990-2000-2006, per province, country and per 25 km grid at the European Forest Data Center web site/EFDAC map viewer on :

  • Forest morphological shapes (interior, edge, islet, linear)
  • Forest edge interface types (natural, artificial)
  • Forest connectivity (<30%, 30-50%, 50-70%, >70%)
  • Forest landscape mosaic pattern (core natural, mixed, some natural)

Further information in report and poster.

European landscape fragmentation of natural/semi-natural lands :  flyer and report coming soon onmorphological shapes of natural/semi-natural lands, the types of their edge interface, their landscape mosaic pattern and connectivity.


Policy frame and contribution :

Large-scale harmonized reporting on fragmentation :

  • Forest Europe, Ministerial Process on the Protection of Forest in Europe : State of Europe’s Forest report 2011 ( Forest Europe, 2011) : indicator 4.7 Landscape Forest Spatial Pattern
  • CBD2020 – Aichi Target 5 (Fragmentation/Degradation), Target 11 (Connectivity of Protected Areas)
  •  Pan-European process ‘Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators (SEBI)’ of the European Environment Agency :  SEBI 2010-report 4 and 52012 report and forthcoming SEBI2015

Spatially explicit tools and macro-scale European-wide vision related to forest ecosystem conditions, help building a Green Infrastructure in Europe and tackle fragmentation by grey infrastructure and land use intensification,  :

  • European Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 on mitigating fragmentation, ensuring better connectivity between ecosystems and within and between N2000 sites, establishing green infrastructure and restoring degraded ecosystems : target 1 (N2000 Habitat Directive, art.10 and 3), target 2 (Forest Ecosystem Services ( pilot MAES) with relevance to habitat provision, resilience, climate mitigation and disturbance regulation), target 3b (Forest Management plans)
  • Green Infrastructure Strategy 2013– enhancing Europe’s natural capital : aims, among others, to develop networks of green, natural features, to address impacts of fragmentation, increase connectivity and improve landscape permeability.

Spatially explicit tools and methodological guidance for regions to account for connectivity in integrated forest management and landscape planning:

  • Guidance on conservation, afforestation and restoration in SFM and in Rural Development Plan
  • Guidance on forest and Natura2000

Raise awareness on forest connectivity under the UN-Environmental program


Regional Pilot Studies :

  • Pilot in a Spanish region on the connectivity of the Natura2000 forest sites to guide forest conservation and restoration (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, start  August 2013 – end April 2014)  : review of connectivity-related policies, management measures and reporting assessments; questionnaire to foresters, practitioners and planning authorities ; test JRC model to assess connectivity for 3 threats (fire, roads and climate change), 4 species ecoprofiles (generalist forest, broadleaved forest, specialist mature with closed canopy, Juniperus spp ) with forest, land cover/use and habitat regional maps.
  • Regional case studies in the Mediterranean, the Danube region and the Carpathians: See Kozak et al 2007, Estreguil et al 2012; Connectivity under different land cover change scenarios in Rubio et al, 2012 and impact of fires on forest pattern and connectivity in and outside Natura 2000 sites ( Fire and Natura2000).
  • Two studies funded by the EC under the Forest Focus regulation: (1) the "Downscaling Biodiversity " on the link between forest patterns and National Forest Inventories biodiversity variables (forest type, structure, stand age, deadwood, naturalness), (2) the "Forest resilience, vulnerability and Spatial pattern"EUR24263EN_2010 Executive summary and table of contents  on the link between forest pattern and forest vulnerability, resilience and resistance



Estreguil C., Caudullo G., de Rigo D. and San-Miguel-Ayanz J. 2012a. “Forest Landscape in Europe: Pattern, Fragmentation and Connectivity”. JRC scientific and policy report EUR 25717EN –

Estreguil, C., et al., (2014) A proposal for an integrated modelling framework to characterise habitat pattern, Environmental Modelling & Software (2013),

Estreguil C., Caudullo G., Whitmore C. 2011. Habitat landscape pattern and connectivity indices; Used at varying spatial scales for harmonized reporting in the EBONE project. Wageningen, Alterra, Alterra Report 2297. 80 pp. ISSN 1566-7197. (download at .

Mubareka, S., Estreguil, C., Lavalle, C., Baranzelli C., Rocha Gomes C. (2013). Integrated modelling of the impact of Natural Water Retention Measures on Europe’s Green Infrastructure. International Journal of Geographical Information Science. Special Issue on Land Change Modelling: Moving Beyond Projections. – doi: 10.1080/13658816.2013.782408



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